'They're holding us hostage', Catholic board puts off-school lunches on hold
BARRIE -- "They're holding us hostage, I guess you could say," says St. Joan of Arc student Tanner Kowalski in response to the Catholic School Board restricting students from leaving the school for lunch.
Kowalski is one of the hundreds of students at the school in Barrie who was told on Tuesday that leaving school for lunch is now on hold for at least a week as the Catholic board figures out a plan to cut down overcrowding.
"They have their half a day, and they still get to go for lunch, but for some reason, we don't, and we still have a full day," he says.
Meanwhile, at Innisdale Secondary School with the Public Board, most students wearing masks flooded the plaza parking lot, and along Grove Street, Eastview Secondary students huddled together in small groups.
As of right now, the Public Board says it has no plans to change its lunch period protocol but instead has chosen to educate and remind students of proper health and safety measures.
But students with the public board say they have mixed feelings with what the catholic board is doing.
"A lot of them aren't mindful of what's going on right now, and they don't really care, so I think it's a good idea the catholic schools are doing that. But we also we need a little bit of air," says Megan McGill.
"It's not good," says Jesse Carisse, "but I do think it's a little bit better than all being inside without our masks on."
Right now, the Catholic Board is working on a new plan to divide the day with several breaks, allowing students to get out in smaller groups.
It's also exploring nutrition breaks throughout the day, followed by lunch at the end of the school day around 1 p.m.
"We're still meeting the integrity of the 300-minutes a day," says McCullough, "but it's the best we can do to maintain the cohort and the safety of all kids."
The board says it could take at least a week before the new lunch plan is developed with the school day looking much different than it does right now.